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the madrigal, volume i

helen jenks and tomás clancy


by helen jenks

Seek out, children, the curious moss-mouth

clearings of the earth, deep within the withered bracken 

and writhing oaken roots. These are ancient

roads, little ones, that have been stalked by things


far more powerful than you –– the Horned God and 

his wild things still watch you run and play

from primeval corners of our wood.


Oh, but you are brave, I know, and will let

the slumbering earth-mother nourish your bones;

scraped hands and bruised knees seep like dew


into the hungry soil. The dryads will drink,

it is all the same to them.


“Come back inside!”


and let me mend your muddy clothes, 

darning holes in tiny socks and listening to

your patchwork, lilting stories of what is now memory––


baleful, verdant roads that groaned out their secrets

on the precipice of inescapable adolescence.

One day, I shall wither, sweet ones, and you must


bring my body back to the wild grove of oak and avalon,

where the lake shall meet the glass-strewn sea––

let me sink beneath the waves, and join

those wild, ancient things that hunt and roam, eternal 


till these paths we walk again.

Brecheliant, or Brocéliande, was an ancient enchanted forest that serves as a place of mystery, magic, and myth throughout many early Medieval texts, most notably in a variety of Arthurian legends. It is commonly believed to be the place where the wizard Merlin was both buried and imprisoned, and has been physically identified as the Paimpont Forest in Brittany, France. 

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